Joseph Makhandal Champagne, Esq. is the Mayor of the Borough of South Toms River, New Jersey. He was elected on November 2, 2010. In 2008, Mayor Champagne won the Council seat. Mr. Champagne holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in pre-medical sciences from Columbia University. After graduation in 1998, he went back to his high school, Sarah J. Hale, to teach for one year Earth Science and Mathematics for years. Later in 1999, he attended Law Center’s Charles Hamilton Houston Pre-law Institute program at Georgetown University, where he won the Best Respondent Advocate award.
Mayor Champagne earned his Juris Doctor degree from Vermont Law School (VLS). While at VLS, he founded the Vermont Law Student Leadership Collective for Human Rights. As an exchange student, Mayor Champagne studied Business law at Howard University, School of Law, in Washington, D.C., and European Union Law at the University of Trento, School of Law, in Trento, Italy.
Mayor Champagne served as a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Wendell E. Daniels, J.S.C., of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Ocean County. Mayor Champagne has a solo practice in New Jersey and focuses primarily on immigration, criminal and civil law. Mr. Champagne is a member of the New Jersey and Ocean County Bar Associations. He is admitted to practice in the New Jersey Supreme Court, the United States District Court, the Third and Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States of America. In addition to State and Municipal courts throughout New Jersey, he appears in Federal courts throughout the U.S.
He serves on several advisory committees including Alternative Dispute Resolution, Law Day, and Minority Concerns. He is a board member of Ocean Community Economic Action Now, (O.C.E.A.N., Inc.), the Global Syndicate, and the National Haitian-American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON). Also, he served as an assistant to the Public Policy Counsel and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Champagne was appointed by Assignment Judge Lawrence M. Lawson to the Superior Court Monmouth Vicinage Advisory Committee on Minority Concerns. He serves on the Subcommittee on Minority Access to Justice is a member of the Advisory Board UNESCO Center for Global Education in Nigeria.